Why I Decided to Take a Career Break

By james juliette on 15/12/2015

Why? A break is career defining, not career defeating.

My alarm goes off at 0715 every day (which I know isn’t early) and from that piercing tone I start a daily routine. I get up, shower, have breakfast and then get into my car to drive to work. The drive is only 13 miles but usually takes just over an hour on a good day. While stuck in traffic I usually look to either side of me and see people stuck in the same routine as me. When I get to work I walk past the same people every day standing around the mailroom having the same moan as the day before. I sit at my desk and see the same people walking past my door at the same time each day to get their breakfast or a coffee. No one seems to interact but just be in their own world which is unlikely to change.

Surely there is something more to life than this?

I have done as society expects…I went to a good school followed by university and then a law conversion course to be in a position to start work. I have been working in a law firm for nearly 7 years and been a qualified solicitor for nearly 5 years. I thought the life of a solicitor would be more glamorous. Being woken at all hours and having to go to a police station to defend a client is only exciting for the first few months however interesting some of the cases are.

I sit at work often asking myself “can I do this until I retire in 35 years’ time?”

When the answer is always no I knew it was time to do something about it!

I have always wanted to help people and make a change and not simply fit into a life that society dictates. It’s easy to lose perspective of what is important in life when you are surrounded by routine, deadlines and other people’s rules and agendas.

After talking to Juliette about how I felt I wanted to do more and make a change in the world she explained that she felt the same way and that is when we decided to take a career break.

It does sound crazy to call it a ‘career break’ only 7 years into a career but now seems like the perfect time to go. It is perfect as we do not have a mortgage, children or any pets. If we didn’t take a career break at this point in our lives I feared that I would find myself 20 years on doing the same job feeling the same and asking myself ‘what if?’

What if?

  • Would I have different skills?
  • Would the career break have guided me to a more rewarding career?
  • What if I never see parts of the world that I have always wanted to?

There is one what if question that does worry me in making this decision – What if I can’t find employment when I return? After much consideration of this question I have come to the conclusion that the reasons to take a career break outweigh the reasons not to.

 

When talking about taking a career break to people the usual replies are all What if questions too:

  • What about your pension and gap in your CV?
  • What if you get sick or homesick?
  • What if you can’t find employment after?

During the career break I hope to achieve a number of things:

  • Travel to and explore parts of the world I have only seen in pictures.
  • To help others through voluntary work: work with children and use skills and passion I developed from working with children with autism and specializing with defending children with mental health problems in court. Work to help educate people about human trafficking. Promote sport and encourage people to participate in sport not just for health benefits but the camaraderie and friends that are made through sport.
  • Fulfill my school careers advisers career advice to me and become a farmer!
  • Challenge myself and to push the boundaries of my comfort zone. To embrace and immerse myself in new cultures and ways of life.
  • To learn new skills that I can use in life when I return to the UK.
  • To step back and see that there is more to life than doing a job that you can never switch off from and take home with you at night and weekends.
  • Write more about taking time out and try to help guide others who might feel they are in a similar position.

When considering a career break you must remember: a career break will either reconfirm the path you are currently on or it will drive you to make lifestyle changes. It’s win-win!

 

 

 

 

 

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